March 3, 2007
Union bill passed despite no vote from Regula
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON Ohio Rep. Ralph Regula
was the only area lawmaker who voted against legislation this
week that would make it easier to organize unions by depriving
employers of the right to insist on secret ballot elections.
Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, said he opposed the bill because
it "strips workers of the liberty to make their own decision,
freely and anonymously, on whether to form a union."
The area's other lawmakers voted for the bill, which was
approved Thursday by the Democratic controlled House, 241-185.
The yes votes included Democratic Reps. Zack Space of Dover, Tim
Ryan of Niles, Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville and Betty
Sutton of Copley.
Backers of the bill, a high priority for organized labor, said
it would protect workers' rights to organize a union.
Currently, an employer can demand a secret ballot vote before a
union is certified after the National Labor Relations Board
certifies that more than half of eligible employees have signed
cards authorizing a union.
The bill would allow union organizers to bypass an election if a
majority of employees signed the cards favoring a union.
The legislation also would toughen penalties on employers who
intimidate workers attempting to form a union.
Regula suggested the legislation promotes a double standard,
since a secret ballot would still be required when workers
sought to decertify a union.
The bill's prospects appear dim, since it did not get enough
votes in the House to override a promised veto from President
It is also unclear whether Senate Democrats have the 60 votes
they would need to vote on the legislation in the Senate, or the
67 votes they would require to override a presidential veto.